Administrative Services

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Nebraska State Personnel Board Decisions

The following State Personnel Board Decisions regarding employee grievances have been summarized for informational use only.

2004

Laurie Fritzen v. Department of Roads Appeal: (Rules) Laurie Fritzen filed a grievance when the Department of Roads issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.

The Respondent contended that the Appellant violated six provisions of the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, including failure or refusal to comply with a lawful order, and acts or conduct which adversely affects the employee's performance.  The Hearing Officer found the Appellant failed to follow work rules and give temporary employees work assignments.  It was the Appellant's fourth disciplinary action in less than two years.  It was also found that the Appellant allowed a pay check to be processed and issued, which contained a significant over-payment and encouraged the employee to keep the over-payment.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be denied and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Rudy Fiedler v. Department of Environmental Quality Appeal: (Rules) Rudy Fiedler filed a grievance when the Department of Environmental Quality issued him a special performance evaluation and an improvement plan.  The State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations to rule on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent.  The Appellant alleged that the evaluation was not conducted in conformity with established rules and regulations.

The Hearing Officer found that the job duties and expectations listed in the improvement plan are identical to those in the performance evaluation and as a result of the plan, the Appellant's performance did improve.  The Hearing Officer also found that this was not discipline, and therefore, not a grievable matter.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Motion to Dismiss be sustained and the grievance be denied.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Dean Naylor v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal (Rules) Dean Naylor filed a grievance when the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) issued discipline in the form of a six-month probationary period.  The State Personnel Board appointed Andrew Russell to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  The Appellant failed to appear for the scheduled hearing and a second hearing was ordered on a default judgment. 

At the first hearing, the Respondent provided testimony that the Appellant had resigned his position with DCS, and provided evidence supporting its decision to issue discipline.  The Appellant also failed to appear at the second hearing, which constituted grounds for a default judgment, and the Hearing Officer recommended the matter be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Daniel Schmuecker v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal (Rules) Daniel Schmuecker filed a grievance when he was terminated from employment by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).  The State Personnel Board ordered a hearing in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations with regard to the timeliness of the filing of the appeal at the third step.  The Appellant failed to appear for the scheduled hearing and a second hearing was ordered on a default judgment.

The Appellant failed to appear at the second hearing and the State Personnel Board entered a default judgment and the matter was dismissed.

Pam Armstrong v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (NAPE) Pam Armstrong filed a grievance when the Department of Health and Human Services issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Bill Morris as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent alleged the Appellant engaged in the use of offensive language and unprofessional conduct. 

The Hearing Officer found through testimony of co-workers, the Appellant did participate in conduct that was highly inappropriate, and was of a nature that could have a potential for drastic legal consequences.  The Hearing Officer also found the behavior of the Appellant to be vicious, spiteful, and done in bad faith, and that the Respondent had the right to forgo progressive discipline.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be denied and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Mark Berger v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (NAPE) Mark Berger filed a grievance when the Department of Health and Human Services issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated C. Thomas White as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent alleged the Appellant was involved in an incident of patient abuse, and then did not report it to his superiors. 

The Hearing Officer found the Appellant struck a patient and then left work without reporting the incident.  The Appellant admitted to "kind of losing control," and the Hearing Officer deemed this to be gross negligence in the performance of his duties and just cause for the termination.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be denied and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

John Funkhouser v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal #4: (NAPE) John Funkhouser filed a grievance stating the Department of Correctional Services violated the contract by not properly posting open positions.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held regarding the Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. 

The Hearing Officer found the Appellant had signed a settlement agreement in reference to a previous grievance appeal, stating that his employment would be located at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center.  The Appellant's grievance #4 was concerning actions of the Respondent at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, and since he was no longer employed at that facility, the Hearing Officer found the grievance to be moot.  The Hearing Officer recommended the Motion to Dismiss be granted and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Daniel Ohlrich v. Department of Motor Vehicles Appeal: (NAPE) Daniel Ohlrich filed a grievance when the Department of Motor Vehicles issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Joseph Logan as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent alleged the Appellant falsified and omitted required information on his job application, which if known, would have prevented the hiring of the Appellant.

The Hearing Officer found the Appellant had falsified and omitted information from his application regarding reasons for leaving previous employment.  The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent proved by a majority of the evidence that the discipline was imposed in good faith and for just cause.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be denied and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Donnie Myers, Jr. v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (NAPE) Donnie Myers, Jr. filed a grievance when the Department of Health and Human Services issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated William Morris as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent alleged the Appellant was involved in an incident of patient abuse, while the Appellant reported that the incident was an accident.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent failed to provide sufficient evidence that the Appellant caused the injury to the patient and that the only witness to the incident confirmed the Appellant's claim that the patient fell.  The Hearing Officer concluded that the evidence did not support the accusation and there was not just cause for the termination.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be upheld, and the Appellant be reinstated with back pay.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision.

Brad Kreifels v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal: (NAPE) Brad Kreifels filed a grievance when the Department of Correctional Services refused to promote him to the position of Sergeant he desired.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant claimed that he was a victim of discrimination when he was not provided a choice of three different vacant sergeant positions, even though he had finished first in the point totals before the promotion board.

The Hearing Officer found the Appellant did receive the highest score on the promotion board, and was offered one of the sergeant positions, but not the one that the Appellant desired.  The Respondent offered the position the Appellant desired to another employee, having considered the successful candidate's work experience and the fact that the other employee had greater seniority.  The Respondent based its decision on institutional needs and the filling of the vacant position was done in good faith, and therefore, the Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance be denied and the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Gerald Pankonin and Samuel Kaplan Classification Appeal to the State Personnel Board:Gerald Pankonin and Samuel Kaplan filed appeals regarding the DAS-State Personnel Division's decision on a reclassification appeal.

The State Personnel Board ruled that the State properly applied the classification methodology in making its decision.

Paula Weekley v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (NAPE) Paula Weekley filed a grievance when the Department of Health and Human Services issued disciplinary action in the form of termination.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Paul Caffera as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2001-2003 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent alleged the Appellant failed to follow policies and procedures in contacting a vulnerable adult, who later died in a fire.  The Appellant argued that she was on annual leave during a portion of the time frame designated in the policies and procedures and was not given proper direction.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant failed to satisfactorily perform the job functions and that the Respondent was fully justified in disciplining the Appellant.  The Hearing Officer also indicated that the level of discipline was questionable.  The State Personnel Board found that the Appellant was guilty of the conduct alleged, but the discipline imposed was not warranted based on the evidence presented.  The Board remanded the matter to the Respondent for further action consistent with this decision.  The Respondent has appealed the decision to District Court.

Joel Beckner v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal (NAPE) Joel Beckner filed a grievance when the Department of Correctional Services issued disciplinary action in the form of a five-day suspension without pay.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated William Morris as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 2003-2005 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined for making inappropriate remarks to a visitor at a DCS facility.

The Hearing Officer found through testimony and evidence, the Appellant did make the comments to the visitor, and that he had been given previous direction on how to conduct himself during a special visitation of this type.  The Hearing Officer found there was ample evidence supporting the punishment and no evidence of bad faith.  The recommendation to the Board was to deny the appeal and dismiss the grievance.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.  The Appellant has appealed the decision to District Court.